Look Twice, Act Once - Winter Special Pt. 1 - Slip Hazards

Welcome to our First winter special edition of Look Twice, Act Once!

We know that, like the height of summer, the dead of winter has its own hazards and dangers that come with it. Whilst the height of summer brings heat, sun, and hydration issues – the middle of winter brings with it cold, moisture, and slip hazards – amongst a host of others for you to consider.

So, let’s have a think about those over the next few weeks as we focus on a few safety hazards which are unique to the middle of the year.

This week, we are going to be talking about slip hazards and general wet hazards. So lets look at some ways to help you prevent injury when dealing with slip and wet hazards:

  1. Wipe your feet!

    Getting up early is a part and parcel of doing any job in the construction industry. But, as the months roll into winter, it gets not only harder to get up without the sun, but also easier to slip and slide on morning dew which is more prevalent during the winter months – or if you happen to live in a particularly cold area even ice can be a problem. Boots can slip out from under you, thanks to being wet or damp. If you’re on the ground, this might cause a sprain or a relatively minor injury – but if you’re on a roof or an elevated platform – this could potentially be far worse. So always try to wipe your boots and the surface you’re working on down if you can to prevent slipping and sliding.
  2. Keep your boots in check!

    One of the main causes of slipping is not just slippery surfaces, but also having old boots with worn soles. It’s much harder to slip when you’re wearing a new pair of boots due to the level of grip the soles provide as opposed to an old, worn pair. Remember, you can often get boots resoled as well, so if you happen to have a comfy pair of boots that you love – there’s no need to forgo all the breaking in you’ve done if you take them to a good cobbler.
  3. Drive carefully.

    Wet surfaces are not only a hazard for your feet, but also in the car as well. With wet, greasy roads being more common during winter, accidents often do go up and accidents are often also worse. Similar to your boots, make sure that the tread on your tyres is adequate, and that you are staying alert and driving to the conditions of the road. Remember, a speed limit is as fast as you can go – not how fast you must go, and slowing down during winter has proven to reduce accidents and collisions on our roads. And, use your lights – studies have shown that using your headlights in all weather reduces accidents substantially.
  4. Wear Warm(ing) Clothing!

    Admittedly, by world standards, our winters here are reasonably mild. It’s not exactly -40c and blizzarding regularly. That being said, some regions can be a ‘wet cold’ – meaning high humidity. This offers the same problem as a high humidity in summer does – air that tends to cling to you. In winter, this can be an issue if you’re not wearing enough layers, or enough warm clothing. And, this only compounds if you get wet. Synthetic products are not the best at keeping you warm when wet – but things like wool on the other hand, will. A windbreaker jacket is also a good option for particularly windy areas to keep the chill off you. Neckwarmers are also a cheap and good way to keep your neck warm, and beanies are good to keep your head warm – just remember to replace these with a hard hat if need be. And finally, if you do need to sit down – try to find a covering for the ground so you aren’t sitting directly on cold, wet ground.

So there you have it – a few ways to keep yourself warm and dry – and more importantly safe – in the cold wet months of winter. As always, if you see any hazards, please get in contact with your supervisor or boss and report them immediately.

Published on: Friday, 15 July 2022